Today, nature is struggling in many backcountry and wilderness areas to recover from the impact of heavy use and poor camping practices. Many backcountry areas are “camped out”; firewood is scarce or non-existent, fire-blackened rocks and fire scars mar the landscape, and ground cover is gone. In most areas, streams are no longer safe for drinking.
Regulations designed to correct these problems have been implemented, but help and cooperation from visitors is needed to enforce these rules. Please help preserve the land by lessening your impact! Trail descriptions may not be 100% accurate please obtain a map and a compass.
Lessen Your Impact
- Following these Backcountry ethics can help protect and preserve the wild areas for future visits:
- Limit the size of you group to 10
- Stay on established trail to minimize erosion
- Camp only on hard ground at least 100yds from water and trails
- Use a backpacking stove instead of building a campfire
- Wash at least 100ft away from water sources
- Throw out dirty water at least 100ft from water sources
- Do not mark trees or leave rock piles
- Please keep dogs on a leash
- Please do not feed wildlife
- Pack out what you pack in – Take your trash with you!
Thunderstorms are expected every afternoon in the mountains. Weather conditions can change rapidly. Remember to bring rain gear with you – even on a short day hike. Snow may be present during all months of the year at higher altitudes.
Hypothermia is the mental physical collapse resulting from a lowered inner body temperature. It commonly develops when outside temperatures are between 30 and 50 degrees when the victim is wet. Summer afternoon thundershowers and rapidly changing mountain weather can greatly increase thee risk of developing hypothermia.
Trail Closures and Restrictions
The Back Bowls of the Vail Ski area are closed from May 6th to July 1st during elk calving season. Other areas may have similar restrictions. Please contact the corresponding ranger station for more information. Camping is not allowed at and above tree line due to the lack of firewood at this altitude.
Planning and Equipment
Always leave your itinerary with a friend, family member, or concierge and give them a return time/date. Check the weather forecast prior to leaving and make sure you bring the proper equipment and wear proper clothing. Bring items such as compass, map, whistle, flashlight, sunscreen, first-aid kit, and anything else you think you may need. Please remember that these are simplified guidelines and that you should always visit a forest service station for more complete guidelines and safety information for the area in which you plan to travel.